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  • Writer's pictureJames Anderson

GTM SERIES – The Climate-tech Go-to-Market Challenge

- Moving from the pitch deck promise to capturing actionable opportunity -

The societal need for climate mitigation solutions is impossible to deny. The promise of climate-tech solutions is nearly equally unimpeachable. This shows up in a lot of pitch decks and corporate overviews I have seen. As I said in my book (Good Enough for the Climate), the math is simple and not controversial. Translating that big picture promise to a realistic strategy, connecting that strategy to an actionable Go-to-Market (GTM) plan, and finally executing on that plan while responding to new market information requires a set of competencies and work streams that are often in short supply. There is a GTM Execution Gap. This post is the first of what I hope will be a long series – the GTM SERIES – helping provide insights on specific GTM challenges and best practices. So, let’s start with a little overview.

Translating a vision and the promise of a new technology and the associated solutions – products and services – that flow from it into business is hard. What are all the things an enterprise must do to breathe life into those solutions? This is the Go-to-Market (GTM) Challenge. It goes beyond creating something cool, that’s the perfect tech or the best financing model. How do we take that awesome solution (let’s call this Our Awesome Solution – the OAS) to market and find customers, who will give us their hard-earned cash for the promise that the OAS is going to solve a problem or create an opportunity for them? Peel back this question further and it gets more complicated.

  • We have imperfect and incomplete knowledge of the market.

  • We don’t know all of our competitors or the possible direct and indirect substitutes to our awesome solution.

  • The customer has to be willing to pay us more than what it costs us to deliver the OAS

  • There must be gains from trade for the customer. The customer must believe, and in a lot of cases empirically prove, that the OAS is going to solve a problem or create an opportunity that is worth more to them than what they are paying for the OAS.

  • The market environment we are trying to operate in is dynamic.

  • We are the new entrants, offering novel solutions to old problems are addressing new requirements for our customers.

The GTM challenge seems like threading a needle when you look at it this way. Going one step further to think about all the work streams and associated competencies one has to organize to do this at scale and the problem seems daunting. Luckily for us, humans have been selling since the beginning of time. We have some experience to draw from to do this right. In the GTM SERIES I’ll reflect on as many aspects of this as possible, providing frameworks, best practices, and stories of the many mistakes I’ve made along the way. I will do this almost entirely from an enterprise B2B and B2G context that I think is most relevant within the climate change context. Hopefully this spurs insights that can help you accelerate your part of the puzzle for addressing climate change.

What are all the work streams and analysis we need to do at scale to maximize the opportunity for Our Awesome Solution (OAS)? The chart below is a framework for organizing these work streams. It’s not a simple process flow. GTM activities are inherently collaborative, iterative and reactive, especially in the early stages of the GTM for a new OAS, when there are so many unknowns.

Here are just a few questions and topics that come up in each of these areas.

Direct Sales

  • Who am I selling to? How well defined is that Call Point?

  • What is the most effective way to engage them?

  • What type of sales model is needed based on the customer segment, value and margin of the OAS, size of the market, etc?

  • How do I organize my sales team?

  • What is my sales process and cadence?

  • How do I recruit, hire, train, compensate, evaluate, mentor and grow a sales organization that meets my needs?

  • What is the best CRM system for my organization?

Demand Generation

  • How do I effectively make sure my target market knows about my OAS?

  • What marketing channels are most cost effective?

  • What are the intangible benefits of various marketing channels?

  • What demand generation tactics are most appropriate and effective for my OAS and the potential buyers I want to reach?

  • How do I build a list of potential customers?

  • How do we coordinate inbound – one to many marketing efforts – with outbound – one to one sales efforts?

  • What is the definition of our call points, our buyers? What is the psychographic detailed definition of our target customers?

  • What are our win-themes?

Channels and Partners

  • Does it make sense to have a channel GTM strategy for my OAS?

  • What are the best channels to use?

  • How do I maintain control of my OAS while working with partners?

  • What’s the risk of loosing touch with the final customer?

  • How do I manage customers to be the most successful?

Product Marketing

  • How can we build the business model into the product?

  • What is the market position for our product relative to competitors and the journey that our customers are on?

  • What is the definition of the business justification the ROI of the OAS for our customers?

  • Who are our competitors? How do we win?

  • What’s the full market opportunity, our TAM and SAM?

  • What are the influencing institutions – regulatory, policy, financial – that we need to understand to clear the path for the adoption of the OAS?

These are just a subset of all the GTM questions and considerations. At different stages of development, new factors come into play as well. I’ll try to dig deeper in the next GTM SERIES.

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